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As actor Sonu Sood turns political, poll panel withdraws appointment as state icon of Punjab

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) has withdrawn the appointment of actor Sonu Sood as the state icon of Punjab, a senior official said Friday. The poll panel had appointed him for the role in November 2020.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Punjab S Karuna Raju told The Indian Express that the decision was taken after taking notice of some media reports on actor’s recent meetings with political personalities.

“To be the ECI’s state icon, we need a person who is apolitical and without any affiliation or association with any political party, its activities or politicians. So we recommended his removal as state icon, which the ECI has approved. I spoke to Sood and communicated to him. We also thanked him for the wonderful journey we had,” said Raju, adding that a written communication in this regard was also sent to the actor.

Raju said the appointment was withdrawn on January 4. In recent days, Sood had visited Punjab several times and met political personalities, including Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and president of Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhbir Singh Badal. He had also held a press conference a few weeks back announcing that his sister Malvika Sood Sachar would be contesting polls from Moga. Recently, he was camping in the constituency and touring villages with her sister for her campaign.

Speaking to The Indian Express, the actor said that he had already planned to give up the title as his sister would be contesting polls. “It was a great association with ECI. However, I wasn’t fit for the title anymore as my sister would be contesting polls from Moga. I was planning to give up the title myself in coming days,” said Sood.

Sood’s sister is yet to take a call on whether she will join a party or contest the polls as an Independent. “Most probably we will take a call on it by next week,” said Sood.

There has also been widespread speculation that the actor himself will contest the election, a claim consistently denied by him.

The actor and philanthropist, who hails from Moga, had catapulted to the national spotlight for helping migrant workers reach their homes during the Covid-induced lockdown last year.

He had arranged transport facilities for migrant workers stuck in various places while returning back their homes amid joblessness. His humanitarian work was highly appreciated by all sections of society.

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